Local & State
|Bondswoman turns heads and fills hearts through her work|
|In male-dominated field, passion stands out|
|Published Thursday, April 25, 2019 2:04 pm|
“If somebody calls me to the jail, I go down there to see them and talk to them. I just have to. I have to tell them to make better decisions, or to change whatever’s not working for them, and I get a rise out of that — I’m a lover, not a fighter.”
Something as simple as showing empathy can have a huge impact on a client’s life, Brewster understands, because she’s seen it happen with 24-year-old Kaitlin Massey.
After Brewster bonded her out of jail in July, Massey was anxious. She’d had bad impressions of other bondsman — some were aggressive, or made her uncomfortable, others didn’t seem to take her seriously. She worried what Brewster would think of her history, her charges, her tattoos.
Once they left the jail, Brewster invited Massey to sit and talk for a moment, and levelled with her in a way no one else had before.
“She was the first person on that side of the law that treated me like I wasn’t this piece of garbage,” Massey said. “She knew the mistakes I made were not who I was as a person, and she managed to help motivate me, and showed me that I could be something.”
With Brewster’s encouragement over the next few months, Massey got a job, then a second job, and then a house for her and her young son, away from Massey’s abusive partner. Even today, Brewster checks-in with Massey’s progress and motivates her to stay on a positive life path.
“It makes you feel good,” Massey said. “She makes people feel like they matter.”
But not all her clients are so receptive.
Hanging above her desk in bold red letters, Brewster’s “Do NOT Bond” list is a daily reminder of those who have taken advantage of her generosity, skipped payments or missed a court date — clients she’s contractually obligated to locate and return to court, or pay the entire bond amount herself.
The scar on her back serves as another reminder. After one client skipped court, Brewster found her crouched in a bedroom closet at her home. The client ran outside, and Brewster gave chase. During the pursuit, a rainstorm erupted, causing Brewster to slip and fall on her spine before finally catching the runaway.
It was either that, or pay the $25,000 bond in full.
“I only had one option there,” Brewster said, laughing. “I had a job to do.”
It all started with her father.
A former bondsman himself, Raul Brewster has a booming voice and a big heart that he shares with everyone he meets. In elementary school, Kiara would ride around Wilmington with him, checking in on his clients.
“No matter where he went, everyone knew him,” she said. “He was like the face of Wilmington.”
While some bondsmen might obsess over profits, or only see clients if they miss court, Kiara said her father showed her the real value in bail bonding is found in the relationships built with clients.
If someone needed a ride to the courthouse, Raul Brewster would be there to drive them. If clients were having a difficult adjustment to life outside of jail, even after their contract with Brewster ended, he’d offer them words of encouragement, a shoulder to cry on, even money out of his own pocket.
Dealing with an arrest can be a shocking and confusing experience for people, Raul Brewster said, but having a supportive bondsman who is invested in their client’s progress can make all the difference.
“If you give them this kind of guide in the direction they should go, they’re more apt to get through the case and better their lives, even to the point where they might not need to see a bondsman in the future,” Raul Brewster said.
“At the end of the day, we want them to be functional in the community. It’s not just about a business, it’s
Send this page to a friend